+ inload: Leg day on Nocturne +

+ Building truescale legs from Gravis armour + 

+ A portion of yesterday's evening was spent bulking up the legs started in the previous inload [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+]. They're not yet finished as they're being built up in stages – I long ago learned the pitfalls of squishing previous work when trying to do too much in one go! +

+ The pict-capture above is interesting to compare with that below; pre-greenstuff. You can see the difference the additional bulk around the thighs makes. I've tried to keep as much of the 'greebling' detail of the existing legs, so most of the work was really built around integrating the additional reinforcing layers that are a feature of Mark X armour in general and the Gravis variant in particular. +

+ Ultimately, I'm pleased that the legs look more like Mark VII – absent of any scale comparisons, I think they'd fit nicely in place  with the plastic Tactical squad that came out in 3rd edition; if roughly a third larger again. These Salamanders are going to be quite chunky! +


+ Iterative improvement +

+ One thing that I have been trying to improve here is my green stuff work, and I'm finding taking photographs of progress helps keep me honest with myself. Below is the shot I took when I first felt I had finished. I was pleased – but  under the camera lens they looked so lumpy! I went back to refine and smooth them a little more, which is the shot you can see above. Still not perfect, but a little better. +

+ While the difference is subtle, I think little iterative improvements like this is what's going to help me get better. A job for another evening is to fill the gap between the bottom of the shin plate and that first additional plate; leaving a single, rather than double, plate above the boot.  +

+ After that, perhaps onto the torsos... +


+ And for no other reason than Kroot are cool, here's a picture of one riding a Knarloc. I brought him in from the happy hunting grounds (my garage) and decided to take a picture. +

+ inload: Preparatory work for 10th edition Salamanders +

+ In the Dust of Armageddon: Preparing to play Salamanders in 10th edition 40k +

+ A slightly disingenuous shot (owing to the difference between – or lack of – bases) showing a comparison in proportions between using the Gravis armour legs as the basis, and Tartaros Terminators + 

+ With 10th edition not just on the horizon but bearing down on us like a tank shocking Land Raider, it's apparent that Salamanders (for the moment at least) won't have any particular special rules differentiating them from other Chapters. Part of me is a bit sad; another part is relieved – picking up a new edition is always a little bit complicated, so one less set of exceptions to learn early on suits me fine. +

+ I've always preferred Space Marines to be 'Space Marines first, Chapter second'. That applies across the board – I think Chapter ought to add flavour and spice, not change the dish entirely. +

+ Let me be clear; I think the distinctive cultures and appearance of the Chapters in the lore (and models) is crucial to their appeal – but I don't think that that needs to lead to exceptionalism in terms of rules. This is particularly so for Chapters that don't have much tabletop reason to be different for the sake of difference. +

+ There's a lot of flexiblity in how you choose to paint your models. This sort of material, I think, is what really caught my imagination. The actual rules were stripped-back and you reflected the character of your army through the unit choices and way you played, rather than in the list. +

+ Food for thought in painting. This early material, from the Space Marine Painting Guide shows the germs of what would come. It's not all gold; but it's interesting to see where the ideas stemmed from. +

+ The Salamanders are a good example of this. Giving them a Codex supplement simply to match those of the other First Founding Chapters was fun, but unnecessary. Again, let me clarify that by making clear that I think a supplement of artwork, lore exploring their history, organisation, and ideas for the Chapter (and indeed other Chapters, Craftworld, Regiment, Dynasty etc.) would be awesome, but it doesn't need to create a whole set of exceptions to the rules. +

+ That's notable in particular now because the long-standing restrictions placed on army building (the force organisation chart and successors) have fallen away; so without them, no additional exceptionalism needs to be built in. +

+ Am I sad that the Salamanders have lost their Warlord traits, artefacts and strategems? Partly yes; but mainly because the names and ideas helped shine some light on the Chapter's character. Not having the nagging feeling that one's chosen army is unfairly advantaged or hindered by imbalances or unintended consequences in the rules is a relief. +

+ Lots of cool little ideas I can poach for my project here. +


+ Theoretical: army lists +

+ Anyway, back down off my soapbox – what's this got to do with the In the Dust of Armageddon project? Well, the new system of making an army is now clear and the Index has been released. I think the inherent flexibility of the army-building process has opened up lots of possibilities, and wanted to scribble down some loose ideas I'm working up. +

+ The Space Marine Index [+noosphericexloadlink embedded+] is a giant pile of options (For easy reference, the points values are here [+noosphericexloadlink embedded+]). As with the previous edition of the game, I think a lot of these could be consolidated, but that's another discussion. +

+ At this point I have quite a few Space Marine armies, and want to try something a bit different to my usual 'Thirty Tactical Marines and then start thinking' approach. As it is, I started going through and working out a vague army list based on models I had planned, and with an emphasis on using 'normal' Space Marine rules (i.e. not Primaris; I'll refer to the old marines as Astartes from here). That looked like this:

+ Adeptus Astartes-themed list +

  • Captain with Artificer Armour – 80 + 10pts
  • Lieutenant – 80pts
  • Librarian – 85pts
  • Tactical Squad (10) – 175pts
  • Infernus Squad (5) – 90pts
  • Rhino – 85pts
  • Terminator Squad (10) – 400pts

+ A neat 1000pts – and as an aside, I rather like the simple points system. Makes for quick, easy army lists. +

+ That list is simple and straightforward, and since Primaris and Astartes are now identical in terms of stats, there are fewer weird mental gymnastics to explain why these Space Marines are twice as resilient as these Space Marines – something which always niggled at me since the introduction of the Primaris idea. +

+ Sadly, there are still a few odd bits. The Rhino can't carry the Infernus squad, because they have the 'Tacticus' keyword – presumably the 41st Millennium version of wearing trainers to a nightclub. Secondly, Tactical Marines (for some reason) can no longer split into 5-man combat squads, either – a shame, because at this points level, I want as many squads as possible, rather than fewer, bigger squads. +

+ I don't want to lose the Infernus marines primarily because I have a squad winging their way to me. They could join the Gatebreakers, but the idea of flamer-wielding Salamanders appeals too much! +


+ Primaris-themed list +

+ As an alternative idea, I wondered what it would look like if I took the opposite approach, and used exclusively Primaris rules with the same models:

  • Primaris Captain with Artificer Armour – 80 + 10pts
  • Primaris Lieutenant – 75pts
  • Librarian – 70pts
  • Intercessor Squad (5) – 95pts
  • Intercessor Squad (5) – 95pts
  • Infernus Squad (5) – 90pts
  • Rhino – 85pts
  • Terminator Squad (10) – 400pts

+ First observation: the Primaris officers are generally cheaper than their Astartes equivalents – weird. Perhaps due to fewer options? Secondly, the Rhino is completely useless here. It could, at a push, count as an Impulsor (95pts, with the extra 10 coming from losing the Captain's Artificer Armour), as the weird Space Marine grav-tanks can't fly or anything like that. Doesn't strike me as ideal, though. +

I could, of course, drop the Rhino and sub it in for something else, but I rather like the classic Space Marine tanks. Frustratingly, the Drop Pod and Land Raider, for some peculiar reason, don't have the restriction on who can get in them. Perhaps at higher points levels, I could swap out the Rhino for a Land Raider. +


+ Option 3: And now for something completely different +

+ Okay, so both of those options have something weird going on. Rather than try to twist the list into being something GW clearly want to make awkward (a mix of Primaris and Astartes in the same army), I thought I'd try to make a virtue of the GIANT PILE OF OPTIONS and make something completely different. +

+ Once I'd decided to try this, it suddenly opened up the option of having a Space Marine army that plays completely differently to any other I have, which has obvious appeal. I plumped for an all-Gravis-armoured list, on the basis that the models are big and bulky enough to be clearly something different, and slow and tough fit the Salamanders' theme well. Apart from anything else, my conversions are based on Gravis armour anyway, so it seemed fitting  to go for that as a theme:
  • Captain with Gravis Armour and Artificer Armour – 95 + 10pts
  • Apothecary Biologis and Bolter Discipline – 55 + 25pts
  • Heavy Intercessor Squad (5) – 110pts
  • Heavy Intercessor Squad (5) – 110pts
  • Heavy Intercessor Squad (5) – 110pts
  • Eradicator Squad (6) – 190pts
  • Aggressor Squad (6) – 220pts
  • Scout Squad – 70pts
+ That tots up to 1,000pts on the dot. Completely different to the other forces, but looks like it'd be very different to play, too. I rather like the idea of army-wide Toughness 6(!), and the idea of hosing down hordes of the enemy with a few heroes. +

+ The list is necessarily very limited, as there are only five Datasheets with the Gravis keyword. There are a couple of Chapter-specific characters, and if this proves fun, perhaps I'll try a counts-as character using Iron-Father Feirros' rules as some point. +


+ In all honesty, I don't think any of these will end up as the absolute final list – planning is all very well, but I just get dragged about by enthusiasms and ideas while building to promise anything. Theoretical list-building like the above is fun, but I use it mostly to help guide my thoughts and discover what I'm actually enthused about. Almost like consulting the Emperor's Tarot! +

+ Practical: Modelling +

+ In any case, there's no army without soldiers, so building is continuing. +

+ Above are three sets of legs from the Heavy Intercessor kit, which I'll be working these up into Mark VII armour. At this stage, I'm most interested in cleanly cutting away the excess detail, so there's a clear surface on which to sculpt. I've taken away the crenellated toecaps, reshaped the ankles, trimmed off the cables at the back and left off the hip thingies. Perhaps most obviously, I've also removed everything above the belt, as this will be replaced with a Terminator waist gimbal. +

+ The overall silhouette is still thick-set, but now free of the heavy reinforcing that's so different from Mark VII. The detail that remains in place is largely greebling. The legs are now ready for greenstuff work to get them looking like this: 

+ The work on the front is essentially blending in the additional plating on the thighs to make them a single integrated piece of armour. You could instead file off the raised plates, but I prefer to add bulk to the upper legs. It creates a great sense of power and stability. +

+ The back likewise requires surprisingly little greenstuff work; and that mainly confined to extending the calf armour down slightly. You'll note that the additional greenstuff on the thighs is mostly on the front – that's to stop the legs simply looking podgy. +

+ It's at the sides that the majority of the work is done, and event that is largely filling in the gaps at the hips and reinstating the corner of the ankle. As you can see, my work isn't the cleanest – something which I'd like to improve – but I think it'll suffice for this project. +


+ inload: Bits, pieces and #backtobadab +

+ inload: Bits, pieces and #backtobadab +

+ For various reasons – not least the heat – hobbying has been slow recently. I've progressed a little on a Silver Stars combat squad, as you can see here. I've used a slightly different approach than in my tutorial (at time of exloading, that's in the Corestack Relics at the top right), and started with a white undercoat. This made painting the white a lot quicker, but everything else has to be brought down. +


+ All five are now at a stage where I can start highlighting and adding details; they should polish up quite quickly after this. +

+ [+APPENDEDIT+] 'All five' indeed... Just spotted that there's actually two more in this batch – d'oh! Luckily, it looks like I put them to one side because they're already at this stage, so I just need to remember to get them involved as I carry on. +


+ Back to Badab +

+ Of course, let's hope that's not a jinx! Elsewhere, the Salamanders for Armageddon have received a priming. In a happy coincidence, Myles from Lil Legend Studios got in contact to invite me to take part in Badab After Dark [+noosphericexloadlink embedded+], an invitational which I'm happy to say is open to all – go have a look around! The only requisite is to tag thematic entries with #badabafterdark on Instagram. +

I was very pleased to be asked to participate, though with hobby time limited and lots of projects – not least the #warofthefalseprimarch bubbling away, I didn't want to over-promise for this. Happily, it seems rather providential that many of the same Salamanders that fought on Armageddon were veterans of Badab, as explored in this inload [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+]. +

+ As a result, what better way to participate than with these Second Company marines on their way to becoming veterans? +


+ inload: Flight of Eagles character creation +

 Flight of Eagles character creation +

+ Happy to say that the first Neophyte-Prospect forms have started to trickle in (see the 'Calling for Back-up' heading in this inload if that doesn't mean anything to you) – thank you very much, all, and particular Cameron whose submission was above and beyond. Awesome stuff! +

+ If you'd like to send a character to the Tenth Corpus of the Gilded Eagles, they're still very welcome. All the details are in the previous post – though a comment on the previous inload (thank you unknown) reminded me that not everyone has access to the various social media groups. Since this blog is intended to be standalone, I wanted to post up the character creation info so that everyone can get involved if they wish (or use the ideas and pack for their own creation). +


+ Click the images to show them at full size, and do feel free to ask in the comments about anything unclear. +

+ You are more than welcome to use this material as you wish for your own adventures. If you'd like to submit a Scout or Officer (or multiple), it would be very much appreciated – but not required. +

+ inload: Converting Space Marine Scouts +

 + Flight of Eagles – Excel: Vel Pereat +

+ Something of a side project here – the bulk of a Space Marine Scout Squad. I'm currently in the midst of preparations for running a short roleplaying mission with the PCRC; something I've not done before. The game is intended to be a fairly easy introduction for me into DMing – not least to let our resident go-to DM Omricon to have a break (he's been running a D&D campign for most of the PCRC since lockdown) and have a go as a player. +

+ I really want to make the experience fun and involving, so I'm trying my best with the worldbuilding and have picked a set of mechanics that I feel comfortable with – I'd prefer to concentrate on the RP element, so want the 'crunch' to be as smooth and familiar as possible. +


+ The Gilded Eagles +

Set, very specifically, in M41.730, the game will be themed around a new Chapter – or rather an unexplored Chapter – called the 'Gilded Eagles'. The Gilded Eagles recruit from a rather unpleasant Feral World/Death World planet called Pyx, which lies beyond the rim of the Eastern Fringe. +

+ 'Recruits' are taken up by a Chapter voidcraft, which waits 'til the next one arrives to stand vigil and then departs. The voidcraft will then patrol the region in a great cycle, liaising and consulting with other Chapter assets during their cycles before returning. The Great Cycles then begin anew. +

+ Beyond this, the players know little – for each (well, most – see below) of them will be playing as Scouts. The Chapter's culture will, I hope, emerge and become apparent as we explore... +

+ If you'd like to contribute to help create a properly immersive setting, in the files section of the Facebook group [+noosphericexloadlink embedded+] you’ll find the player’s hand-out for ‘Flight of Eagles’ – which contains some simple guidelines for generating characters of the Gilded Eagles Chapter Astartes. +

+ If you find yourself with a bit of spare time and idle creativity, I’d very much appreciate you contributing your own ‘Neophyte-prospect forms’ and ‘Scrolls of Honour’. Your characters will then be used to flesh out the Tenth Corpus of the Gilded Eagles, as they go into action en masse for the first time. +

+ 40k galaxy map, M41.745 +


+ Converting the Scouts +

+ The basis for the Scouts is the Neophytes from the newish Black Templar Crusader Squad. Afraid I didn't get a scale shot, but the proportions and general refinements make for much better-looking models than the existing Scout squad, even though they share a lot of the same detail – a really nice update. +

+ The conversion work is subtle, and the majority of each model is straight out of the box. The bulk of the work is in the pauldrons, where I used files and an emery board to remove the Maltese Cross Chapter icon of the Black Templars; the head, where I filed down the bowl-cut hairstyle and replaced it with an (unintentionally natty) Elvis-style pompadour; and by far the most involved, the codpieces. +

+ You'll probably have experienced the occasional moment of clarity when hobbying, perhaps realising what else you could have done that evening, or how much you've spent on a model in relation to your dinner. In this instance, I sat back and stared into space for a moment as I realised I'd spent more than an hour greenstuffing four tiny codpieces on four tiny little plastic men. Such is the grim darkness of the far future! +

+ Another modified head here; this time there's no greenstuff, just careful knife and file work to turn the bowl cut into a slightly ragged mohican – after all, when making Scouts, you gotta turn to the classics, right? +

+ And finally an example of how to turn a problem into an opportunity. The Black Templars kit comes with four bodies (two of each sculpt), but only three each of bolt pistol and chainsword combinations and boltguns, so you can't have them all armed identically. +

+ Wanting to go with a classic Retrohammer squad layout for this lot, I used a heavy bolter (taken from the Salamander still on my painting desk – keep an eye out for updates on him soon), and carved up one of the boltgun sets to use for the arms. It still needs the ammo feed/magazine housing to be sorted out, but is working alright. +


+ Are these models of the player characters? +

+ Short answer – no; though I'll be using them myself with a board in front of me to help orient and describe things. Theatre of the Mind (a phrase I just learned) sounds awesome, but I don't want to be juggling too much mental load. A physical 'cheat sheet' of where things are with relation to one another will be very handy. +

+ The models are therefore mainly for fun, though if, as the rumours suggest, we're getting a Scout squad in Kill Team sometime soon, it'd be fun to use them there. +

+ Having some physical models is also useful to me to help develop ideas. I find narrative ideas for lore, stories and background arise quite naturally while I'm painting. Inevitably, they tend to centre around what I'm working on, so what better way to get in touch with the Gilded Eagles than by making some? +

+ Witness the lurid green codpieces in this unedited shot +

+ The glaring omission here is the Sergeant; and he'll be joining them shortly. He'll either be in Scout armour (using a converted Phobos models) or Mark VII (using a converted Tacticus model). +

+ I'm looking forward to working on the Veteran Sergeant, as he'll provide a link between the players playing as Scouts, and the player who's taking control of the Lieutenant... +

+ To explain that a bit further, the mechanical elements of gameplay will use Advanced Space Crusade as the basis. It's generally written off as a rather clunky boardgame, but I think that's misunderstanding it a bit. +

+ Another game of the same period, the fondly-remembered Space Hulk, has an over-arching story that leads you through missions that are narratively linked but in practise don't have much effect on one another. In contrast, Advanced Space Crusade provided no explicit story as such. Instead, it's got a rather nice little card-based exploration element. In effect, you generate a random (within certain parameters) mission in a separate phase that amounts to a separate but related mini-game. This gives a lot of RPG opportunities – indeed, it was sold with the '3D roleplay' billing – but I'm not sure that really came across to the audience, who I think was mostly expecting something a bit more model-focussed. +

+ Anyway, this mini-game is not super-complex, but is engaging and fun. It's controlled by the board pictured above. You create your force list, assign your squads a letter (A, B, C etc.), then place them in the boxes above. The 'Perimeter' and 'Core' parts are where the cards that describe the story sit. These vary, from events the require the board game to be played (the tactical part of the game that will involve the Scouts and Veteran Sergeant), to narrative elements like discovering strangers. +

+ It all works rather elegantly – and importantly for me, provides a ready-made story generator for an RPG. In effect, it gives me a safety net. More than that, however, it allows someone to play as the Lieutenant directing the broader assault. Will he send the player group into danger? Scouts are faster at exploring than Power-armoured Marines, after all. Will he make sure that they're well-supported? And will he be able to spare enough forces elsewhere to ensure the defenders can't dig in and fortify one route? I guess we'll see... +


+ Calling for back-up +

+ One thing this does require me to do is to generate the rest of the boarding party – and the more character and interest I can create for the NPC Space Marines, the better. If you'd like to help, I'd really appreciate you making a Scout or potential Sergeant using the info in the pack – again, that's in the files section of the Facebook group [+noosphericexloadlink embedded+]. +

+ The character generation rules are very light indeed; so it's little more than a name and a couple of interesting quirks that are needed – if you fancy it, that'd be brill. +

+ I'll leave you with the Gilded Eagles' motto and battle-cry of the Tenth Corpus: 'Excel: Vel Pereat!'